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Need an easy yet personal gift for a special someone? Tired of spending $20, $30, even $40 for a gift basket that is mostly just filler? Then try your hand at creating your own gift baskets. It’s easy! All it takes is a little imagination and some knowledge of what your friend or relative’s hobbies are. You can create a beautiful, personal gift basket for any occasion while spending half the money that you would buying those prepackaged ones you see downtown.

First of all, and most importantly, take a few minutes to consider who the recipient is, and what his or her interests are. The best gift is always a useful one. Second, jot down a few ideas about what to use as a basket or container, as well as a few items that you’d like to include inside. This helps you to focus on your project and allows you to control the amount of money that you will spend, as you will be able to pick and choose items on your list (or buy them all!) Third, hit the road! Visit the dollar stores first to see if they sell what you’re looking for. If you’re making a coffee lover’s gift basket, for example, you might find a coffee mug that is just as nice as one you’d pay $8 for in another store. It pays to shop around!

After you’ve gathered everything you need, it’s time to start the fun part—packing your basket. Line your basket, box or theme-related container with a sheet of colored tissue paper and add the gift items that you’ve purchased. Include a bow or personalized card if you wish. Then deliver! Who knows? The recipient of your gift basket might show how appreciative he or she is by sharing the contents of it with you!

The following are a few gift basket ideas to help you get started:

Coffee Lover’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, or coffee pot with the following:
--two colorful coffee or latte mugs
--two packages of instant cappuccino (you can buy these in a box of five usually, so you’ll actually have enough for two gift baskets—or for you to drink while creating your gift!)
--one can of General Foods International Coffee
--an assortment of flavored candy stirrers
--a favorite read (in paperback) off the best-seller list

Wine Lover’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, or champagne chiller bucket with the following:
--two wine glasses
--a bottle of wine
--a corkscrew and an assortment of plastic wine corks
--a wine connoisseur’s magazine or a wine-tasting book
--a small block of gourmet cheese

Sports Lover’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, or team logo bag with the following:
--tickets to a local sporting event
--team logo t-shirt, sweatshirt, or hat
--package of trading cards
--Notice of subscription to a favorite sports magazine

Cooking Lover’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, or cooking pot with the following:
--new kitchen towels
--an assortment of rubber spatulas
--hand written copies of some of your favorite recipes
--small bottle of extra virgin olive oil
--cookbook or cooking magazine

Writer’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, or small office trash can with the following:
--an assortment of pens, pencils, and markers
--a package of laser labels for use in his or her printer (or include some with his or her return address already printed on the labels!) and envelopes
--small expense log/daily planner
--coffee mug
--a dictionary or thesaurus

Garden Lover’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, flower pot, or watering can with the following:
--small garden tool set
--an assortment of vegetable and flower seeds (compatible with climate and season)
--package of plant food spikes
--a cheerful potted violet already in bloom

Car Lover’s Gift Basket

Fill a basket, gift box, or car wash bucket with the following:
--an assortment of car wash items
--a detail chamois
--a car air freshener
--a maintenance manual for the year, make and model of recipient’s vehicle
--a luxury or import car magazine